In-demand vintage bus film location to become working museum in Glasgow

A nondescript 1960s bus garage in the east end of Glasgow that has become an in-demand location for film and TV dramas is to be developed as a working museum and visitor attraction.

Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust (GVVT) hopes to expand facilities at the Bridgeton site to put its vast archive on public display and increase passenger trips across the city aboard some of its fleet of more than 100 vintage buses.

An open weekend next Saturday and Sunday will enable people to go behind the scenes to see where films such as this year’s The Last Bus starring Timothy Spall were shot, along with scenes from BBC dramas like 2019’s The Victim, starring Kelly Macdonald, and 2011’s Hattie, in which Ruth Jones played Carry On actor Hattie Jacques.

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Film and TV producers have been attracted by the drab concrete building as evocative of the era in which it was built.

Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust's Steven Booth. Photo John Devlin

Visitors will also be able to see some 130 vehicles housed at the garage, which date back to a 1934 Leyland Lion single decker.

Up to 15 of them will be used to provide a free bus service to bring visitors from the city centre and Riverside Museum.

GVVT chairman Steven Booth said it hoped to attract more visitors to the site by playing the “nostalgia card”.

He said: “We want people to experience the sights, the sounds and the smells of what buses used to be like.

Some of the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust 's vehicles. Photo: John Devlin

"In places like Glasgow and Edinburgh, buses and trams were the main ways folk got about – not just for their shopping or visiting relatives, but trips to the cinema, and even going to the coast and on holiday.”

Mr Booth, whose father and grandfather were both bus drivers, said: "When we hold events, it’s almost all families, and the combination that seems to work is grandparents with grandkids – the grandparents travelled on the buses and it evokes memories for them.

"They start sharing stories, and depending on how old the kids are, they are quite receptive to that – an awful lot of kids don’t travel by bus today so they are a little bit intrigued.

"The kids are also intrigued not just by the bright colours of the vehicles but they notice how the design of the buses is different from what they see in the street.

Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust, Glasgow. Photo: John Devlin

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"It’s amazing the memories that are stimulated – I find it remarkable that people remember details such as the destination screens on the buses, like the number 5 to Castlemilk.”

The catalyst for the trust’s development plans was its acquisition of the former Glasgow Corporation garage from the city council having leased it since 2002.

Built in 1965, it was only used for buses for 11 years before being becoming a council depot.

A colourised image of Bridgeton bus garage's boxing ring in 1965. Picture: Glasgow Corporation Transport

A proposed extension to the building could display some artefacts from the GVVT’s archive, which includes more than 150,000 photographs and 2,000 books, housed in the garage’s former gym, which even boasted a boxing ring.

The upstairs room could be opened for research, such as people keen to find out about their ancestors’ links to transport.

Mr Booth said: "I’m losing track of the number of people who say their granny was a clippie.”

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